Questions tagged [gm-techniques]

For questions about the practical arts and methods applied to gamemastering (GMing).

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7
votes
1answer
275 views

How can we make combat with slow weapons more satisfactory?

I have been in the following situation as a player in the past and now as a GM I have a player facing the same problem: The Character in question is using a weapon with a relatively high WGS of 12. ...
1
vote
1answer
299 views

Can level 1 characters survive a fall of several miles? [duplicate]

I'm going to start a new campaign soon, and I thought it would be fun to scare my players in the first session by having them start the game falling from the sky. The thing is, I don't wanna kill ...
10
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2answers
480 views

How to lead newer players to perform less linearly in encounters?

During a turn, a player has so many possible options, movement (e.g. crawl, climb, jump, grapple...), action (e.g. attack, dash, shove, dodge, hide...), bonus action, and reaction. Also to keep in ...
-1
votes
1answer
123 views

Dealing with Prophecy [closed]

I think Prophecies are one of the hard problems of GM-ing. There are a number of things that collide: Player agency Storytelling the players taking out the Big Bad Evil Guy way earlier then expected, ...
23
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3answers
2k views

How to ask for useful critiques?

As a GM, I strive to make the best experience for my group and adapt and improve my style and skill. I usually do this by live observation and asking for inputs after the session. My problem lies in ...
18
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4answers
1k views

How do I make a creature feel impressive without scaring my players away?

At the end of the homebrew campaign I'm running, I plan to have the characters face off against a big, scary monster. It's designed to be (almost) impervious to regular weapon attacks, but there will ...
1
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0answers
216 views

As a DM I gave our dwarf cleric a bear cub as a companion, what can I do? [closed]

So I'm with 2 PCs, playing D&D essentials kit. Most of the time we follow the plot, add some extra things there and here and of course doing some improve. I try to stick to some of the rules but ...
9
votes
4answers
447 views

When using the Augury spell, how good or bad does the outcome of the course of action have to be to justify a response of Weal / Woe?

My players are planning to use Augury to decide whether to enter a dungeon, and I'm trying to decide what the outcome of the spell should be. I can see that some extremes should be obvious: for ...
42
votes
7answers
6k views

How to guide my players into realizing they have multiple options available for an encounter?

For my next session with my PCs, I'm planning to have them witness an attack on an NPC that's intended to hook them the adventure. The plan is for the party to encounter his daughter, who also has a ...
20
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1answer
1k views

How do I play Masks to find out what changes, rather than to find out what happens?

Many Powered by the Apocalypse games make an agenda item of playing to find out what happens, discarding notions of "this will be my arc and this is how any particular scene from it will go" and ...
32
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4answers
4k views

Player has trouble imagining the ingame situation

The Situation I have been a GM for a few years on and off, for at least half a dozen of groups with at least 20 different players and have played my fair share of systems. A few weeks ago my ...
23
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3answers
4k views

How to figure out a creature's weaknesses?

I was wondering what you and other players would do when coming across a new monster in a campaign. You obviously want to try to figure out what weaknesses this creature has, what it's resistant to, ...
10
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4answers
486 views

How can I drop hints that a seemingly innocuous gnome village is secretly evil?

In the D&D 4e game I run, I am planning on soon having my players go to the Feywild on an adventure. Something I'd like to try to pull off during this is to have a subversion of expectations. ...
10
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2answers
467 views

Save a dying PC without being too obvious

In my last session a PC left the party and engaged a one-to-eight fight. He is dying alone in an isolated place without many chances of becoming stable and the other players will probably need some ...
9
votes
4answers
415 views

What are some possible repercussions of using story-based leveling rather than experience points?

I am the DM for a D&D 4e game. Recently, I stopped keeping track of XP, on the assumption that I could just give my players a level every time they finished a major quest. In my mind, this had a ...
7
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4answers
1k views

How to handle a player having two characters when everyone else has one?

I started a new campaign for my D&D 5e group and we had made some excellent progress and the characters had made it to 4th level. While entering the "Stone Tooth" through the front door one of the ...
23
votes
2answers
4k views

Player Characters all picking on one other PC

I DM a Savage Worlds game with six players. I'm coming on this problem where some of the characters tend to bully one of the other characters. For context, the character getting picked on is played ...
24
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10answers
4k views

How can I make combat with a lot of summoned creatures quicker?

I currently GM for a level 13 D&D 5e group of 5 players. Recently combat has become heavily bogged down, primarily because the party has discovered their new favourite ('Death by a Thousand Cuts') ...
35
votes
4answers
4k views

How can I help my players make meaningful choice during dungeon navigation?

Foreword: I run a D&D 4e campaign, but I think that this question is overall system-agnostic. Recently I've somewhat shifted my D&D campagin towards a more traditional dungeon crawling style. ...
11
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5answers
624 views

A Rogue dilemma: to roll for Stealth, or not to roll?

I need some guidance about how to best use Stealth checks for a campaign. When it comes to Stealth, say of a Rogue*, would it be better to allow players to roll for their own Stealth skill check, or,...
17
votes
2answers
750 views

Player action choices on official adventure books

I've been running a few officially published adventure books during the last few months, but I never know how to convey the possible actions the players can take and I feel they lose a lot of ...
41
votes
8answers
13k views

How to deal with a player who says no all the time?

I am a fairly new DM. I am playing with a group I have tried to DM and have played with as a PC. There is one person in that group that plays as a PC that says no, AKA he is the opposite of a murder ...
4
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2answers
244 views

How does increasing PCs' wealth beyond the WBL table affect power disparity between character class tiers?

It's well-known what happens when characters get less gold than they are supposed to according to the wealth-by-level (WBL) guidelines. Basically, the well-known power disparity between casters and ...
3
votes
3answers
258 views

How to make combat with a lot of NPCs more interesting and more manageable?

I am a DM for a D&D 4e campaign. During a recent encounter, my players took some NPC allies along with them. I allowed this, because there were only two PCs on that particular adventure, and I ...
19
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4answers
4k views

The Bard wants to convert a Goblin to the good side. Are there any rules against this?

Upfront: I DMed a lot from 1990 to 2005, but not D&D. So I'm decent quality and experienced, but rusty and a total novice with the 5e rules. I do believe that fun trumps rules, and that alignment ...
28
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11answers
7k views

How can I deal with the Remove Curse spell spoiling my plot hooks?

My players met Fiachra, cursed to be a raven unless she brings the Scepter of McGuffin to Ebil Wissard III (grand son of the legendary Ebil Wissard). Of course, the Cleric in the group casts the ...
25
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3answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea to only start enforcing rules late in a campaign?

I'm a pretty new DM. My players are almost at session 20 in my first campaign and it's going great. One of my players has been using a monk. I wasn't familiar with the class, so I'd usually just ask ...
7
votes
3answers
355 views

Is it incorrect to use Passive Insight to tell Players what their Characters already know about NPCs?

I have a party of 4 noobs, 1 is a pro on other games but new to 5e (like myself - but I haven't played in years), 3 are actually playing their first characters ever. Ages run from 13 to 50 (I love a ...
13
votes
2answers
248 views

Avoiding all or nothing on “short-lived” partials

A sort of common trope I encounter in pbta games is moves with a partial that has you succeed but with the effect "lasting only a moment" (or some similar phrasing). The example I am going to work ...
13
votes
6answers
705 views

How to manage players wanting to carry out opposing actions?

I need to pick your brains for experience in dealing with this sort of situation. So, in our campaign there was recently an occasion where a character interfered with another character's actions. [I ...
9
votes
9answers
3k views

How can a GM continue to progress the campaign if the player characters cause a plot-critical item or NPC to be lost/killed? [duplicate]

I'm not familiar with role-playing games so apologies if this question is poorly worded. As an example of what I'm thinking of, suppose the player characters are on a ship, which capsizes. While ...
5
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8answers
849 views

How can I combine very different role-playing systems with D&D 5e?

I'm planning on making a D&D 5e campaign for my friends so they can experience what an okay DM is like rather than a bias and railroading DM which is so far their only experience of Dungeons and ...
33
votes
10answers
7k views

How do I prevent my players from abusing long rests?

I am a DM for a D&D 4e game. My players (especially the wizard) like to take an extended rest after every single encounter, because he resorts to using his daily powers in every single encounter (...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I figure out what my players have deduced about hidden aspects of the story without hinting at the secret?

New DM here; our group is in the very early stages of a D&D 5e campaign. My players have been hired to provide security for the wedding between Lord P (whose nefariousness was established in ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “Be a fan of the characters” mean?

My group is currently planning to switch system from DnD 5e to some other system. One of the system I've been eyeing is Dungeon World, from the reviews of my community in Discord. Right now I'm ...
8
votes
5answers
895 views

Help with 3D combat

I recently asked this question, in which one of the comments mentioned there might be problems with 3D combat. My campaign will be nearly entirely underwater, in the deep sea where 3 dimensional ...
1
vote
0answers
135 views

Are there statistics on how many encounters-per-day most tables have? [closed]

Is there a consensus on how many combat encounters most players experience in a DnD 5E adventuring day? From the DMG, pg 84: Assuming typical adventuring conditions and average luck, most ...
3
votes
0answers
104 views

What makes a convincing mafia? [closed]

I am currently in the process of creating my own world, in a Victorian Era/Industrial Revolution/Steam Age setting. It's not overly steampunk but light elements of it are acceptable, as well as some ...
1
vote
2answers
711 views

Can Infernal Tiefling Always Fly?

Swords of The Coast lists the flying ability for the Winged Tiefling. One player in a group I DM created a "Tiefling (Infernal) Warlock (Undying)" which he has been very specific and detailed about ...
21
votes
12answers
7k views

How to prevent discontent among the players when one player murders the others' characters?

I've recently had an idea for a one-shot game (in my own homebrew system that I've been using for a while) where I collaborate with a player to make things more interesting. My plan is to make it look ...
2
votes
0answers
95 views

How can I include a ouija board in an RPG scene? [closed]

I’d like to incorporate a ouija board in an RPG scene. (Campaign specific detail: using one allows PC’s to hack into the GodMachine’s network to ask for specific information). I plan to adapt the ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

Is players adversarial focus RPG even possible to execute? [closed]

I am new to the RPG community, when I am thinking of a adversarial relationship, I generally think of players co-operate to fight against GM controlled mobs in a campaign. But talking about game ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

How do I know how much my player can sell his old gear for?

I have a PC who is a dwarf blacksmith in a homebrew world. He's making a new suit of armor and wants to sell his old stuff. How should I decide what he'll get for it? How do I decide what players ...
72
votes
11answers
9k views

How can I run an open-world game with vast power differences, without resulting in constant TPKs?

I would like to run a game with an open world, where the party can explore unconstrained. I would like to do it in D&D 5E, but the power differences are very stark between levels. How can I make ...
6
votes
3answers
439 views

What precedent is there in an adventure for luring a party with will-o'-wisps?

We are looking to use will-o'-wisps in a Feywild adventure but face a challenge. Since the earliest editions of DnD to the latest, will-o'-wisps have been described as creatures that "lure other ...
-1
votes
2answers
151 views

When running animated water as a creature, how can I get stats quickly?

A subquestion of How does animated water work? When a player conjures a creature formed of animated water, for example a Small horse, I find it works best to model that animated water as a CR0 ...
-1
votes
1answer
135 views

How should I handle attempts to make creatures with Shape Water?

A subquestion of How does animated water work? Often players, encouraged by Shape Water's statement that they can give water any combination of simple shapes and cause it to animate as they wish, ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

Is there a mechanic for a PC to learn the relative strength of an opponent, stat-wise?

TL;DR: It would be realistic for a PC to be able to evaluate how mechanically strong their opponent is, but I couldn’t find any RAW for this. Am I missing something? Certain skill checks in DnD, like ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What are pitfalls I should be aware of with NPC/PC romantic relationships?

I will be running Rise of Tiamat as a sequel to a summer campaign I ran (which was not Hoard of the Dragon Queen). At the end of the campaign two of my PCs, a Bard and a critical role gunslinger, ...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

How can I handle blown cover in a high-stakes game as a GM?

I will be running a high-stakes Eclipse Phase game in the coming weeks and I find myself anticipating a severe problem. The scenario (The Devotees, for any EP players) is based on infiltrating a ...

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